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The Freer Gallery of Art is located in Washington DC. This museum is a part of the Smithsonian Institution together with the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. 

The Gallery was founded by Charles Lang Freer, a railcar manufacturer and a self-taught art connoisseur. Freer had a large collection of Asian and American art, which he donated to the nation. He discussed this gift informally with President Theodore Roosevelt a year earlier. In addition to the art objects, the donation also included funding for a building, and for the study and acquisition of Eastern, Egyptian and Near Eastern visual arts.

Freer imposed a number of conditions on his donation. He believed that the museum should be easily accessible to scientists at all times. Freer also stipulated in the bequest that he would exercise full curatorial control over the collection until his death. The Smithsonian was initially hesitant about the requirements, but Roosevelt’s intervention allowed the project to go ahead. However, Freer died before the construction and establishment of the museum was completed.

In 1923, the Freer Gallery of Art was opened to the public. It was the first Smithsonian museum that was based on a bequest from a private collection.

Various objects are on display in the museum, including Chinese paintings and ceramics, Korean pottery, Japanese byōbu, Indian and Persian manuscripts, and Buddhist sculpture. The collection also features a number of Delft earthenware fragments, which show the history of Delftware. 

The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is located in the beautiful city of Toronto. The institution is Canada’s largest museum and is home to thirteen million artworks. The museum opened in March 1914, and originally consisted of five separate museums: ROM of Archeology, ROM of Paleontology, ROM of Mineralogy, ROM of Zoology and ROM of Geology. In 1955 these five museums became one. Since these milestones, the museum has continued to expand; new exhibition spaces were built, a new library was added, and more research was done. On June 3, 2007, the museum opened a new building, the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, which was a gift from Lee-Chin. The building, designed by Daniel Liebeskind, was inspired by the museum’s mineral collection.

The ROM collection consists of art that spans continents and time periods. It includes religious objects, textiles, costumes, and prehistoric mammals. In the European Decorative Arts Collection, there is a group of majolica from the northern Netherlands. One highlight is a beautiful thirteen inch charger with floral motifs.

Majolica Charger. Royal Ontario Museum. Circa 1635. Inv no. 931.10.9.

Dutch majolica is the forerunner of Delftware. In the late sixteenth century potters of Italian origin migrated from Antwerp to the Northern Netherlands due to religious and political turmoil (the Fall of Antwerp in 1585). These potters settled in cities such as Haarlem and Delft, bringing with them their knowledge and skills in making Italian- style tin-glazed earthenwares (maiolica). The early Netherlandish majolica production consisted mainly of dishes and porridge bowls covered on the front in an opaque white tin glaze, and on the reverse with a less costly transparent lead glaze. The decoration of these pieces in either European patterns or imitations of ‘kraak’ porcelain (the first type of Chinese export porcelain from the Wanli period [1573-1620] to be imported into the Netherlands), or a combination of both, was painted predominantly in blue, yellow, orange or ochre, green and manganese, colors derived from mineral oxides.

Majolica can be distinguished from Delftware not only by the clear glaze on the reverse, revealing the buff-colored body of the clay, but also by the three small spots of glaze damage on the front (prunt marks). These were created by the stacking of the pieces on top of one another in the kiln, separated by ceramic triangles that had to be broken away after the firing. In that process, the points where the triangles had rested would leave their mark: a small unglazed scar.

The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston is the oldest art museum in Texas and first opened its doors in 1924. The original building was designed by architect William Ward Watkin in the Greek Neoclassical style. In the years that followed, the museum expanded its collection and buildings. Today, there are three buildings that house the museum collection.

The collection grew with the addition of an important group of American and European oil paintings bequeathed by George M. Dickinson. Many other benefactors followed Dickinson’s example and donated artwork to the museum. By 1970, the museum had 12,000 objects in its collection. Today, the collection includes approximately 70,000 objects from very diverse mediums, including Italian Renaissance, French Impressionism, American art, post-war paintings and sculpture and American and European decorative arts.

De Paauw (The Peacock) factory. Dinner Plate with Royal Arms of England and Cipher for James II, 1698. Tin-glazed earthenware (delftware). 1 1/4 × 10 1/4 in. diameter (3.2 × 26 cm). The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The Bayou Bend Collection, gift of Miss Ima Hogg, B.59.88

The museum has a very special and rare Delftware object in its collection, a dinner plate with the Royal Arms of England and Cipher for James II made in 1698 and marked for De Paauw (The Peacock) factory. De Paauw (The Peacock) factory was established in 1651. The factory building was painted with the founding year and a beautiful blue and black peacock on its facade. The symbol became a trademark for the factory and was repeatedly used as a decorative motif on objects. When the factory first opened, it operated with only one oven. During the eighteenth century another oven was added. This plate was made under Petronella van Dijssel whom operated the factory from 1680 onwards. Dated Delftware objects are rare, which makes this plate even more interesting. 

The British Museum in London opened its doors in 1759. The founding represents a milestone as it was the first national public museum in the world. Each year the museum welcomes over six million visitors from all over the world.

The collection was first housed in the Montagu House, which was a seventeenth century mansion built by P. Puget. By 1823, the collection had outgrown its original building and required a larger headquarters. Sir Robert Smirke designed a new neoclassical museum building, which remains in use today. In 1857, Smirke’s brother, Sydney Smirke, designed the Reading Room. This room is inspired by the domed Pantheon in Rome. Karl Marx among many others came to visit this marvelous Reading Dome.

The British Museum is home is a treasure trove of special objects, from paintings, to books, and even mummies. The Rosetta Stone is one of the many highlights of the collection. The museum also has a special collection of Delftware that includes figures, vases, jugs and many plates including a special series painted by Sir James Thornhill, an English painter of decorative wall and ceiling paintings, portraits and scenes from history and mythology. His works include the inside of the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral and the “Painted Hall” at the Royal Hospital, Greenwich. In 1711 he was in Delft and painted a series of twelve plates with the signs of the zodiac. These plates were made by De Grieksche A (The Greek A) factory under Johanna van der Heul, the widow of Pieter Adriaensz. Kocx.

The Saint Louis Art Museum is located in Forest Park in St. Louis, Missouri. The museum was founded in 1879 as the Saint Louis School and Museum of Fine Arts. The founder aspired for the institution to not only collect and showcase fine art, but to meet educational goals as well. The school educated artists and craftspeople, and hands-on studio work was offered in addition to art history classes. What began as a collection of assorted plaster casts, electrotype reproductions, and other examples of good design in various media rapidly gave way to a great and varied collection of original works of art spanning five millennia and six continents.

antique delftware Aronson plateThe wide range of arts in the museum collection goes back to antiquity and also represents the present. The collection includes modern art by European Masters as Gauguin and Picasso as well as twentieth-century German paintings. The museum collection goes beyond European art; it also contains finely handwoven Turkish Rugs and an Egyptian Mummy. 

Although the Saint Louis Art Museum has only a small collection of Delftware, there is a very impressive object in the group: a massive blue and white chinoiserie dish. The dish is painted with two fierce spotted leopards and two other exotic beasts being observed by a Chinese dignitary and two attendants. One of the attendants supports a flag before a garden fence on the left, and five figures on the right, one beneath a parasol and the others holding or brandishing various implements. They all stand before a pavilion, the foreground with leafy plants, and beyond the activity a tree amidst shrubbery, rocks and ‘clouds.’ The foot rim is pierced with two holes for suspension in the glaze vat. 

Musée de l'Hospice Comtesse

The Hospice Comtesse is located in the historic heart of Lille. Founded in 1237 by Countess Jeanne of Flanders, the former Notre-Dame hospital welcomed the sick and pilgrims. The institution was created when a large number of hospital asylums were founded during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Today, these walls now house the city’s art and history museum.

Musée de l'Hospice ComtesseAfter the French Revolution, the buildings of the Hospice Comtesse were used to house orphans such as “Les Bleuets” and elderly invalid, “Les Vieux-Hommes.” It was in 1940 that the hospital and assistance vocation of the Hospice Comtesse came to an end. By 1923, the buildings of the Hospice Comtesse were classified as Historic Monuments, and a museum of regional history and ethnography was created in the 1950s by the municipality. 

The city of Lille was once home to important trade corporations, and several museum objects pay tribute to this merchant history, such as traditional banners and the painting La Procession de Lille by François Watteau. The works of Watteau, as well as his father, Louis Watteau, are precious testimonies of the city and of the life in Lille under the Ancien Régime.

The museum also houses a wide variety of art in addition to their beautiful, well known paintings. Textiles, such as religious clothing can be found in the museum as well as old musical instruments, for example the violin, guitar and mandolin.

Musée de l'Hospice de la ComtesseThe ceramic collection covers a period from the thirteenth to the twentieth century. The oldest pieces come from archaeological digs in the region. The collection is made up of glazed earthenware pieces, utilitarian and decorative, beautiful earthenware from different production centers, religious-themed ceramics and earthenware tiles from houses in Old Lille. Delftware forms a small part of this collection. One example is a plaque from 1748 and a cuspidor from the eighteenth century.

Musée de l'Hospice Comtesse

The Toledo Museum of Art is located in the Old West End neighborhood of Toledo, Ohio. Edward Drummond Libbey, a Toledo glassmaker, founded the museum in 1901. Over the years the museum expanded by adding multiple buildings to house its large collection of glass, nineteenth and twentieth century European and American art, as well as Renaissance, Greek, Roman and Japanese art.  

Toledo is well-known as the Glass Capital of the United States. Edward Drummond Libbey wanted to improve the education of local craftsmen and designers by assembling a model glass collection. Not only did he assemble a great collection, he promoted training and exhibited new works. Libbey also supported European glass, and purchased 53 European Renaissance and Baroque glasses for his collection. Through his patronage, the Toledo Museum of Art became one of the most important museums for glassware.

While the collection of glassware was prominent during its early years, the museum also acquired many important pieces of Dutch art, such as works by Vincent van Gogh, Rembrandt and Willem de Kooning. Delftware is another highlight of the collection, with both blue and white and polychrome wares from the seventeenth and eighteenth century. The majority comprises dishes and garnitures, however one series of plates stands out: a series of twelve plates with scenes of a whaling expedition. 

Whale “fishing” took place from April to August in the Greenland seas. During the seventeenth century, whaling progressed from bay and coastal waters to the open sea, and finally to the arctic waters where the whales would swim along the ice floes in search of plankton. The Greenland ice fishery required stronger-hulled ships, the so-called ‘Groendlandvaarders,’ whereas in the Davis Strait lighter ships could hunt. All of the whaling ships were characterized by a large horizontal beam across the width of the stern from which the harpoon boats were lowered for the harpooners to hunt and kill the whale.

While the catch from coastal or bay whaling could be processed promptly in cookeries on land in settlements such as Smeerenburg [‘Blubber Town’], near Spitsbergen, for whaling on the open seas, time, geography and distances were such that the whales had to be slaughtered alongside the ship. The meat and blubber were barreled aboard the ships, and after the return of the fleet to the Dutch harbor, they were reduced to oil.



The Groninger Museum is a modern and contemporary art museum located in Groningen, the Netherlands. Founded in 1847 by Hendrikus Octavius Feith, the museum was originally called Museum van Germaanse Oudheden (Museum of Germanic Antiquities). From the start, the museum was affiliated with the University of Groninger. In fact, several other museums were connected to the university, including The Museum van Natuurlijke Historie (Museum of Natural History) and the collection for Mineralogy, Geology, Zoology and Zootomy.

During the twentieth century the museum expanded its collection with porcelain exported by the Dutch East India Company. The porcelain collection totals around nine thousand objects, making it a significant area of focus for the museum. The museum also owns a wide variety of Delftware including plaques, plates, garnitures and much more.

One highlight of the collection is a coffeepot with cover in blue and white with chinoiserie figures and floral decorations. The coffeepot is marked LVE for Lambertus van Eenhoorn, the owner of de Metaale Pot (The Metal Pot) factory. De Metaale Pot factory continually innovated their eclectic production of earthenware to create complex shapes and decorations. At the time of Lambertus van Eenhoorn’s ownership, the craze for blue and white Wanli (1572-1620) and Kangxi (1662-1722) period porcelain was at its height. Numerous pieces designed by De Metaale Pot factory under Lambertus’ ownership drew inspiration directly from the blue and white Chinese porcelain. The decorations on these wares often consisted of varied floral and landscape motifs, and occasionally included figural subjects.



Princeton University is one of the oldest collecting institutions in the United States. The origins of the collection date nearly to the University’s foundation in the eighteenth century. The collection initially began with a painting gifted from University patron, New Jersey Colonial Governor Jonathan Belcher. Other paintings and works of art followed but were destroyed due to battles in 1777 and a fire in 1802. These initial efforts set the tone for the institution’s collecting over the next century and suggest an early commitment to teaching from original objects and using them as tools for accessing and understanding the wider world. Museum, teaching, and library operated as three interwoven strands. 

In addition to paintings, the museum also acquired objects such as a large selection of Cypriot pottery from the Metropolitan Museum’s collection in 1890; Etruscan, Roman, and South Italian pottery; and objects from later periods. Later in the twentieth century other major gifts came to the museum, such as a collection of more than forty Italian paintings, a collection of more than five hundred snuff bottles, and also sculpture and photography. 

Today the Princeton University Art Museum is one of the nation’s foremost art museums. The collections have greatly exceeded those of a study collection. Numbering more than 112,000 objects, the collections range chronologically from ancient to contemporary art and concentrate geographically on the Mediterranean regions, Western Europe, Asia, the United States, Latin America, and Africa.

The museum also houses Delftware, especially dishes and chargers. An interesting dish is a crespina, probably made in Haarlem around 1650. This type of decoration has traditionally been called ‘Grotesques à la Patanazzi’, referring to similar maiolica dishes made in Urbino circa 1515 by the Patanazzi family of potters. Similar crespinas with the cherub or putto figure at various pursuits within the same or similar decoration on the molded rim have been attributed to the workshop of Willem Jansz. Verstraeten. 


The Stedelijk Museum is located in the town of Vianen, near the Dutch city of Utrecht. The museum forms the cultural heart of the town with historical and contemporary exhibitions. The museum is in a building on the Voorstraat 97, which was built in the sixteenth century. Between about 1650 and 1807, the top floor was used as a clandestine Roman Catholic church. This hidden church is still well preserved with wooden marbled Tuscan columns supporting the canopy, which contains seventeenth century paintings of garlands with rosettes, festoons and a dove. Also visible are paintings in the ovals, including a monogram of Mary, a halo with the letters IHS (abbreviation of Jesus) and IOS (abbreviation of John).

In 1652 the property was in the possession of the Jesuit Father Adriaan Bouvaeus. The priest enjoyed great freedom through his friendship with the lord of Batestein Johan Wolfert van Brederode, whose family was tolerant of the Roman Catholic clergy for years. The church celebrated mass every Sunday for about 100 parishioners, a tradition that continued for over 150 years, first by Jesuits, and then by secular clergy after their exile in 1730. In 1807 the clandestine church was abolished when the Roman Catholic church board bought the building Voorstraat 45. They sold the old church to Goswinus Cremer, pastor of the Reformed congregation, who resold it a few months later. The building was modified a number of times in the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. For example, the facade plastering dates from the nineteenth century. After a major restoration in 1992, it became the home of the Stedelijk Museum Vianen.

Among the many treasures on view in the museum is a rare Delft black pancake plate from the collection of former mayor Rooseboom. The plate is painted with a chinoiserie decoration of a Long Eliza, a dancing boy and two fighting roosters. Chinese porcelain came to the Dutch Republic from 1602, the year the Dutch East India Company was founded. In addition to the well-known blue and white porcelain, ‘famille verte’ and ‘famille noire’ were also produced in China during the Qing dynasty (1644-1911). In famille noire, decorations are applied to a lacquered black background, in which the color green dominates. This became one of the rarest and most precious Chinese porcelains. The Delft equivalent, called Black Delft, or Delft Noir, is also rare. There are only about 65 objects of Black Delftware known worldwide. The production was complicated, because the tin glaze had to remain stable during firing, otherwise the decoration will run out. The plate bears a CK mark, possibly for Cornelis Koppens, owner of De Metaale Pot (The Metal Pot) factory from 1724 to 1757.


Amerongen Castle is one of the great Dutch houses from the seventeenth century, with the house, garden, and furnishings almost entirely intact. The house and adjoining historical gardens are located in the picturesque village of Amerongen at the foot of the Utrecht Hills in the Netherlands. Amerongen Castle has a rich family history, going back 700 years. The owners played an important role in the national and European history.

The history of Amerongen Castle officially began in 1286. During the early years, the castle was destroyed and rebuilt several times. In 1557 the house was sold to Goert van Reede (1516-1585). A new era began for the house in 1641, when Goert’s son, Godard Adriaan van Reede took possession of the house.

Godard Adriaan van Reede (1621-1691) was internationally known as a prominent representative of the Netherlands. Godard Adriaan held a key-position in the insurrection against the French supremacy. As a retribution the house was burnt down by the French in 1673, but rebuilt in the popular Dutch-classical style by his wife Margaretha Turnor. The house was completed in 1680. After Godard Adriaan van Reede died in 1691, his son Godard van Reede-Ginckel succeeded him as lord of Amerongen. He married Philipotta van Raesfeld, heiress of Middachten Castle. Godard van Ginckel was one of the confidants of Stadtholder William III. He was successful in the Prince’s army and won important victories in Ireland, earning the title Earl of Athlone.

At the beginning of the eighteenth century, the castle was decorated in accordance with contemporary taste by Henriëtte Countess van Nassau Zuylestein. She adorned the castle with beautiful furniture and filled the cupboards with porcelain, silver and damask. When the French army invaded the Netherlands in 1795, the Orange-minded Van Reede family left for England together with Stadholder William V. The departure of the van Reede family to England marked a long absence of owners for Amerongen Castle.

The castle was only inhabited again at the end of the nineteenth century when the Van Reede family passed ownership to the Van Aldenburg Bentinck family. With attention and passion for the authentic character, Graaf van Aldenburg Bentinck had the castle adapted to the requirements of his time. Architect Pierre Cuypers was commissioned around 1900 to adapt and embellish a number of rooms. In 1977 his grandchildren gave the castle to the Amerongen Castle Foundation, which aims to maintain the castle and open it to the public.

Amerongen Castle is still furnished as the residents left it in 1977, which had remained unchanged since at least 1940. The historic interior of Amerongen Castle provides an accurate impression of life for a twentieth century noble family. The oldest pieces in the collection date from the period of the Van Reede family from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century. In the twentieth century, the Van Aldenburg Bentinck family enriched the collection with many pieces of furniture, portraits, musical instruments and other objects, including ceramics.

The ceramics collection mainly consists of seventeenth and eighteenth-century objects and is subdivided into Asian porcelain and European porcelain and earthenware, including Dutch Delftware. The castle houses three Delftware garnitures, for example a polychrome set of five vases in the Hallway. Comprising three baluster-shaped vases and two beaker vases, the body is painted with a pipe smoking man in a landscape, and the covers are surmounted with a pecking bird. The other two garniture sets are shown in the King’s chamber and the Library. Other Delftware objects are shown in the library, such as a plate with a portrait of Stadtholder William V, from the end of the eighteenth century. These types of objects were produced as (political) propaganda when William V was expelled from Holland by the patriots in 1785, only to return a couple years later with the help of Austrian troops.


The Zeeuws Museum is located in the town of Middelburg in the Dutch province of Zeeland. 

The Koninklijk Zeeuws Genootschap der Wetenschappen (Royal Zeeland Society of Sciences) founded the Medioburgense Museum in Middelburg at the end of the eighteenth century. In 1886, the Kunstmuseum was founded in the same town. Both museums fell into disrepair during the twentieth century, with a portion of the collections destroyed during World War II. In 1961 the Zeeland Museum foundation moved into the building of the Museum Medioburgense, upon which it received part of the collection of the Royal Zeeland Society of Sciences in loan. The collection of the Kunstmuseum was also transferred to the museum foundation.

In 1972 the museum was moved to the medieval Abbey in Middelburg, where it is still located. Its collection includes wall tapestries from the Province, the historical collection of the Koninklijk Zeeuws Genootschap der Wetenschappen, porcelain from the Bal collection and regional clothing and the contemporary art collection of the Province of Zeeland.  

The museum’s arts and crafts collection also comprises Delftware. Besides both blue and white and polychrome plates with coats of arms, orangist subjects and Asian-style depictions, there is one particularly interesting charger painted in a Kraak-style with the depiction of an elephant. Further, many typical eighteenth-century figures, such as cows, dogs, horses, a lady carrying cheeses or butter and a child in a high chair are included. The collection is further enriched by garnitures, apothecary jars, vases, sauce boats, models of shoes and plaques. A rare find in the collection is a petit feu and gilded salt cellar with candle holder in the shape of a seated lady.

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